Return to hockey looks "bleak": SHA

A return to hockey in Saskatchewan is looking “bleak” according to the Saskatchewan Hockey Association.

The SHA issued a statement following the announcement by the province Jan. 12 of the extension of the public health order to Jan. 29. But in their latest return to play update, the indication they have received from the province is that it will not be until the end of March for hockey to resume, at the earliest.

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That date would be well past when most of the province’s hockey leagues usually wrap up their seasons. Senior leagues such as the Sask. Prairie Hockey League usually have their Cup championships done by mid-March, while the junior leagues are normally deep into their playoffs by that point.

Prior to the latest update, the SHA had previously announced they had cancelled all provincial playoffs scheduled for 2021.

The following is the statement from Kelly McClintock, General Manager, SHA, posted at their website:

“...Yesterday, Wednesday, January 13, 2021, during a virtual call with all Provincial Sport Governing Bodies, Ken Dueck from the Provincial Government’s Business Response Team (BRT) announced that there would be no consideration of return to play (games) for at least four (4) weeks and that a return to game play is unlikely to happen before the end of March.

...This certainly was not the news that the SHA, nor all other winter sports was expecting. With the current rate of positive cases per 100,000 people placing Saskatchewan near the top in Canada, the likelihood of things changing before the end of March is looking bleak.

“The SHA is currently reviewing the state of the game and intend on conducting Zone Meetings for MHA, Minor/Female/Senior Leagues within the next two weeks. Please be aware that the landscape related to COVID-19 in the province can change at any time.”

The Battlefords North Stars have also issued this statement about the latest update on their Facebook page:

“While we are disappointed with this update we fully understand that safety of all is of the utmost importance at this time. We will provide an update as we learn more in the coming weeks.”

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